A Sudbury financial trustee says small business owners he's talked to in northern Ontario are feeling uncertain about proposed federal tax changes.

Federal finance minister Bill Morneau has proposed the Liberals make changes to income sprinkling, capital gains and passive investment, saying the changes are needed to level the playing field for small businesses.

Many business owners have expressed concern, saying those changes could crush them financially. Since then, the Liberals have introduced some amendments.

"I think from a planning perspective, people are in defensive mode," Nathan Sugeng, a licensed insolvency trustee with Fontaine & Associates said.

Nathan Sugeng

Nathan Sugeng is a licensed insolvency trustee at Fontaine & Associates. (Supplid/expertfile.com)

"They're not making any big decisions until they know what's going to happen. So that's not good for an economy long term because the uncertainty and the scaling back of purchasing reinvestment is what's going to hurt the economy in the mid to long term."

Sugeng says if business owners are unsure of the future, that could result in businesses being more protective.

"Protectionism in an economy is a killer," he said.

"The more money that these business owners will try and save up to weather storms means that there's going to be less purchasing [and] less hiring."